Friday, October 16, 2015

Museum Love

I just returned from my first trip to New York City, after teaching at Art Is You, Stamford, CT.

When I travel I make it a point to go to as many museums as possible. We only had 4 days, so I dragged my hubby all over New York to see the top museums on my list.

The first was the Morgan Library, historic private library of Pierpont Morgan, which includes 3 Guttenburg Bibles and stacks of rare books. They also have rotating exhibits and I was lucky enough to catch "Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland." I saw early writings and drawings of the author Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodson) and the illustrator John Tenniel. I loved seeing the drawings from concept to final illustration.

The next museum on the list was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I found the museum overwhelming, it is so large. The collections are amazing, but you really have to limit what to see. My favorite gallery was filled with medieval statues, stained glass and icons.

The American Folk Art museum is very small, but had a wonderful exhibit of "Art Brut,"a term coined by French artist Jean DeBuffet. Raw art by untrained artists from the 50's and 60's. 

And last but not least the MOMA where I saw am amazing exhibit of Picasso's sculptures. Picasso worked with everything from plaster, ceramics, found objects, bronze. Whatever caught his fancy. He learned what he needed then played and pushed the limits of each medium - good advice! One of my favorites was this small assemblage.What you cannot see in the photo is, on the back of the sculpture, he made hair out of twine.

The MOMA also has an extensive collection of paintings that rotate on display. I was able to see Jean-Michael Basquiat's painting over a massive canvas covered with collaged journal pages.

Four museums and all manner of mixed media inspiration: pencil, ink, crayon, paint and found objects used to describe each artists vision of figures and faces. I came away inspired, recharged and ready to get to work! I bought some new pens and pencils to try and played with them while waiting for the plane to leave....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Winged Inspiration

I love Celtic music and had a chance to attend a music event called Faerieworlds, just outside of Portland, Oregon. Just imagine the potential for magical inspiration! I was not disappointed. Picture a forested setting next to a lake, almost everyone in some sort of fairyland costume. There were elves, fairies, mermaids and pirates. Vendors with everything from silk fairy wings to barbeque turkey legs for sale.
I loved the "Dream Tree" where streamers with paper and clothes pins were used to post your dreams. 

My biggest fascination was the inventiveness of the wings.....

I had my camera and sketchbook on hand and came away with some great imagery. 

We sat under the stars and watched dancers in costume moving to the music. 
It was MAGIC!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Art Life

I gave a class at my studio to some wonderful folks last week, including my grandaughter, who is 16 years old and another visiting teen. The class was an abbreviated version of my upcoming class at Art-Is-You Stamford, CT, October 7-9. Sort of a trial run to make sure my instructions were good and I had the right supplies.

One of my class samples for Paint Primer on Primitive

It is alway fun to see what students create from your original concept for a new class and this was no exception. Only a few in the class had made a doll before, and this is a grouping of what was produced. Some are not quite finished, but they are stunning and unique! One person even made a mermaid....

My grandaughter gave me permission to share her work....

Definitely a modern twist on Primitive. 

Finished paintings layed out on the table...

I decided to demonstrate a more modern version of a primitive doll and painting, 
to show how early American primitive style can be done with a twist.

I hope you will consider joining me in Stamford, CT for 
October 7-9, 2015!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Quilted Palette

Last weekend I attended the Sisters, Oregon annual Quilt Festival. The second Saturday of July every year the town of Sisters puts on an amazing show. Quilts are organized by similarity and hung on buildings, in stores...basically everywhere you look. Even the Fire Department helps. In a matter of hours there are hundreds of quilts to view.

Each quilt is like a painting, marks made by patches and stitching instead of pencils and brushes. Color combinations masterfully selected from a complicated palette of not only color but patterns.
Here are some of the inspirational quilts I saw. Maybe they will also inspire you!

Section of quilt made by the ladies from Gees Bend

Made with hand dyed batik fabrics

Masterful "painting"
 When I returned home I had two paintings that I needed to finish for the Oregon Wine Experience charity event.  I decided to use the quilts to inform my color palette. 

The "fall" colors are yummy!

and became "Autum Song"

I love the teal and red orange...

It became "Girl with a Red Bird"
I hope this inspires you to look for a color palette in unusual places.
Stay Curious!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why I Teach

My "Golden Rule Studio"

Why do I teach? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to realize that teaching is an integral part of my creative process. Without sharing what I discover, it feels like something is missing. I created my artist "mission statement" years ago and I still believe it is true:

" I am on a journey, exploring the path of intuitive art, listening to the voice within to learn, create and share what I find." 

So here are a few reasons why I teach:
I love....
- the anticipation of sharing something I am excited about
- learning from my students
- happy accidents that provide opportunities for unplanned problem solving
- seeing students letting down their guard, offering help and encouragement to each other.
- seeing that "click" of recognition when someone "gets it."
- the collaborative energy a group creates.
- that 10 people can approach the same project and come up with 
10 wonderfully different results,
demonstrating that unique creative voice.

It is good to remember that making art is not just about "making." If it was just about mastery of certain skills, art would be easy. The intangible part of making art is being able to visually express who you are.  Learning about new tools and techniques in a class is not an end, but a beginning. It can open a door that will lead your closer to finding your unique creative voice. 

 I hope, as a teacher, I am able to encourage others in their journey of self discovery through play, curiosity and paying attention.....   

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Painting Make-OverI

I often use an old painting to get me re-energized to paint. Because it is a "make-over" I can feel free to experiment and try new colors and techniques.
Where I started...

I got lost in playing and did not take photos of the transition.
 I kept the figure and part of the creature.
At this point it is pretty dark.

Lightening it up, but my biggest critic (hubby) did not like the "peach."
I also changed the eyes to look to the side on the figure.
This small change really impacted the
painting. The two figures are now connecting.

I added some warmer colors - green and yellow glazes.
I also added arms on the girl and a shell with a pearl.
It was unclear who was in the foreground, so back to work.

Close up of added white to pull the figure forward. 

Details of the shell and pearl.

Close up of the creature....

I added more dark around the creature to push him back.

Arms were a bit skinny, so I fleshed them out and made them part of the dress.
Finished ?
I bet you have some pieces hanging around that could be re-worked. Let go and give it a try!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bringing Inspiration Home

Summer is upon us and we will be travelling - maybe only in our own backyard, but there is plenty of inspiration. Vacations exotic or local, are an opportunity to be present and live intensely. See things with new eyes and collect the memories - they will show up in your art.
We recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. We stayed on Kauai, which is also know as the "Garden Island." Lots of inspiration to be had everywhere you looked, but I was taken by a place called Allerton Gardens. It is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens and was created as a private retreat. It is part garden, part art exhibit and entirely unique. It is a collection of garden "rooms," tropical plants and sculptures. Each room has a water feature or plant theme. I felt a bit like Alice walking through a door into wonderland. Here is some of my favorite photos of the garden.

Cocoa pods
Morton Bay Fig trees, used in the filming of Jurassic Park.

Now it is your turn....get outside, enjoy some early summer inspiration and share!